Today I had to go shopping for pants. That’s right, the very first post to this blog is gluisviaroma-black-pantsoing to be about an hour long shopping excursion for plain, black, pants. You’re on the edge of your seats, I can tell.

First, a little history. I -never- wear pants… ever. This is a decision I came to after years of trying to find the perfect pants and always coming up short (pun intended). I am 5 ft.  and  have curves, these two details are the arch nemesis to pant wearing as long as you are shopping off the wrack. My entire life of pant shopping the results have always been the same, they fit here, they don’t there. They must always be hemmed (even when I shop Petite), which inevitably changes the shape of the cut, which means they don’t look the way they were intended to on my body and so on. Searching for pants was a miserable, stressful experience and I decided to give up rather than pull out my hair. Now, before you get all excited about the lack of pants, having reached my wit’s end, I chose to replace my pants with skirts and dresses and shopping became a happy time once more. So, please, no starting a nudist movement in your area in my honor.

I would be in perfect skirted bliss if it weren’t for my retail job which requires me to wear, you guessed it, pants.  The silver lining to this pant predicament is that, unlike some retailers who require their employees to wear khaki pants, my  work uniform is head to toe black, the most merciful of colors.  However, even with the black, this particular uniform is one of the least flattering things I’ve ever worn.  With that in mind I could just settle for the first pair of pants that half-way fit and don’t drag on the floor, but my pride wont let me. While there’s little I can do about the form swallowing, booty hiding,  Neo-esque jacket I’m forced to wear, I’d still like to believe that beneath it my ‘milkshake brings all the boys to the yard’… you know, when I’m walking jacket-free to lunch or something.

Right, anyway, my ego refuses to allow me the ease of ugly pants, therefore I must put myself through the torture of pant shopping at least once or twice a year.

This time around I tried to go prepared. I read up on how to find the best fit pants for your body type, but the information I gathered was more confusing than it was educational.  They point you towards one cut if you’re tall, another if you’re short, another if you’re curvy, and yet another if you’re the opposite of curvy, but there’s no map if you’re a combination of the above.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the suggestions were helpful, but there is a wide gap between helpful and pants that make me feel like Beyonce.

In the end I came up with my own theory… which proved to be, for the most part, a success during this afternoon’s hour long test drive. I plan on further testing my theory on a wider scale, using friends of varying body types and pants for multiple occasions, but for now I’ll give you the work pant version.

1.) Be honest with yourself and know your body type. You will have lost the battle already if you go in hoping to create a completely different body shape using only a pair of pants unless you know of someplace that sells magic pants. Ladies there are no pants that will create shapes where there aren’t, and no matter what the cut curves will still be curves. Just because a particular cut looked awesome on your best friend  who’s 4 inches taller than you, doesn’t mean that that’s the only pair of awesome pants that exist. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was a movie and chances are the only traveling your non-magic pants are going to do is into and across areas of your body that will make you look less awesome. Learn to love the legs you’ve got and shop to fit them.

2.) Go in with an open mind and a commitment NOT to pay attention to size. If your mentality is that you will not even look at anything bigger than this or that size, you’re not going to walk out happy. Not really. The truth is that every store’s measurements are different, different styles fit different, it is virtually impossible that -any- woman could wear the same size -anything- across the board. Do yourself a favor, ignore the sizes and just pay attention to how the clothes look on your body. At the end of the day no one is going to care about the size sewn onto your tag if you’re a victim of the “muffin top”.  Trust me you will look -smaller- if the clothes fit, even if the size is -bigger- than what you’d like it to be.

3.) Try things on, try things on, try things on. I cannot stress this enough. Believe me, I know fitting room dread and have been notorious in the past for not trying things on, but I’ve seen the light. Finding the right fit means seeing a whole lot of the wrong fit, it also means picking up things that you’re not necessarily attracted to on a hanger. Clothes designed to cover curves can look plain weird hanging. So say YES! to the fitting room. You’ll thank me later.

4.) Check out your own butt. If it looks flat, move on to the next pair.

5.) If all else fails, ask a straight man whom you know will tell you the truth.  And by straight man I do NOT mean your boyfriend, brother, close friend or anyone else who’s “honesty” may be tainted by the fear of facing your wrath, hurting your feelings, or who’s hoping to get you out of those same pants by telling you what they think you want to hear. The straight man in question should be someone who can be objective. For instance, if shopping alone, put aside your inhibitions, grab hold of your gumption, and commandeer one of the men always hanging around outside the dressing room waiting on someone else. You’ll know them by their look of utter boredom. Wave one of them over, have them look both ways, check to make sure the coast is clear and show them the goods. They have nothing to lose by telling you the truth about your caboose, they don’t know you and will probably be too startled by being shaken out of their fitting room coma to lie. And, hey, you never know… maybe their sister drug them there and you walk out with a fantastic pair of pants and a date. What a cute “how we met” story! It might seem counterintuitive, but the fact is, girls, if you’re hoping that a guy will think your butt looks good in those jeans, the quickest way to find out is to ask one.  Ask honestly and don’t take it personally. Think of it as research.